Skip to main content
Health Library
In association with:
Food & Nutrition
Food & Nutrition
Note: All links within content go to external link
Food poisoning: Prevention includes safe cooking temperatures
Special to

If an experienced eye is all you use to tell if meat, poultry or egg dishes are cooked to a safe temperature, you're putting yourself and your family at risk of food poisoning. Using a food thermometer is the only sure way to know if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has evaluated safe cooking temperatures for a variety of foods. Here are its recommendations.

Food Safe internal cooking temperatures
Ground meat  
Beef, pork, veal, lamb 160 F
Poultry 165 F
Beef, veal, lamb (whole cuts)  
Medium rare 145 F
Medium 160 F
Well-done 170 F
Whole birds 180 F
Breasts 170 F
Legs, thighs, wings 180 F
Pork (fresh)  
Medium 160 F
Well-done 170 F
Fresh 160 F
Cooked 140 F
Leftover cooked ham 165 F
Fish and shellfish 145 F
Egg dishes 160 F
Other: Casseroles, combination dishes, stuffing, stews, leftovers 165 F

  • Thanksgiving turkey: Can you cook it frozen?
  • 8 ways to prevent food poisoning at home
  • Food poisoning: Common causes and likely symptoms
  • Plastic in the freezer: A source of cancerous dioxins?
  • Deep-fried turkey: How to prepare it safely
  • Mayonnaise: A common cause of food poisoning?
  • Leftovers: How long can you safely keep them?
  • Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
  • June 06, 2006

    © 1998-2006 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "Embody Health," "Reliable tools for healthier lives," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Terms of Use.

    © 2007 Cable News Network.
    A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
    Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
    Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
    Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines